Michigan Swine ISO

The Invasive Species Order (ISO) went into effect April 1, 2012. The order was issued by the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) in December 2010 to prohibit “feral” swine which are identified by such ubiquitous characteristics that most any swine, especially heritage breeds raised on family farms, are unjustly threatened with eradication.

This has become a national concern and people are Taking Action. The ISO is a blatant attempt to take away property rights, freedom of food choice and market share through the force of law.

Read Michigan DNR Going Hog Wild

Tell Gov. Snyder to Rescind swine ISO using the online fax petition.


Click here for most recent posts on Michigan Swine ISO

Click on any link above to jump down to that section below

Taking Action – Who to Contact

Michigan Governor Rick Snyder has the power to rescind the order. Use the Online Petition to send a FAX to Gov. Snyder to Rescind swine ISO

Primary Talking Points:

  1. DNR needs to stay off farms
  2. DNR needs to repeal the Invasive Species Order to not include ALL swine that are under the husbandry of humans no matter how they are raised.
  3. The order denies consumers their rights to access foods of their choice.
  4. The order violates farmers’ property rights and the right to make a living.
ISO-Gov-Snyder Governor Rick Snyder, State Capitol
P.O. Box 30013
Lansing, MI 48909
PHONE: (517) 335-7858
FAX:(517) 335-6863

See Sample Letter below

Action Alert 4/10/12 – Stop Michigan DNR Power Grab

Distinguishing Features Per MDNR
The Declaratory Ruling was issued in December 2011 in answer to the question of what are “the exact standards that MDNR will be utilizing to determine the hybrid, genetic variants and offspring of prohibited swine.”

Prohibited Species, per Declaratory Ruling:

    Wild boar, wild hog, wild swine, feral pig, feral hog, feral swine, Old world swine, razorback, eurasian wild boar, Russian wild boar (Sus scrofa Linnaeus). This subsection does not and is not intended to affect sus domestica involved in domestic hog production.

[Note: "sus domestica" refers to CAFO hogs, the conventional white pig is exempted.]

Print Image or
View Image at www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/Feral_swine_photo_illustration_381452_7.pdf

Instead of genotyping, DNR will use phenotyping “to identify Sus scrofa and distinguish it from other species. Identification may include use of one or more of the following characteristics:” [underlining added]

      1. Bristle-tip coloration
      2. [Distal] “Point” coloration
      3. Coat coloration
      4. Underfur
      5. Juvenile coat pattern
      6. Skeletal appearance
      7. Tail structure
      8. Ear structure
      9. Other characteristics not currently known

Heritage hog breeders are caught in the cross-hairs; hybrids, genetic variants and offspring will be considered “prohibited swine” if any of the phenotype characteristics are observed. Most notable are the ambiguous characteristics: ear structure (“erect or folded/floppy”–what else is there?) and tail structure (“curly or straight”–again, what else is there?).

The proclaimed impetus for issuing the swine ISO is that there is a problem with feral swine in Michigan; but is it really a problem in Michigan or is it Invasive Hype?

Hogwash in Michigan

Listen to the Food Rights News podcast interview with Mark Baker by Pete Kennedy, Esq., “Hogwash in Michigan” [recorded August 2012]

See Testimony before MI Senate Ag Committee on March 29, 2012

Watch for details on the hearing for the four consolidated lawsuits over the Michigan swine ISO.

FAQ – Swine ISO

“FAQ” blog post by Jill Baker on 27 February 2012

There are several questions that people have asked (or been too confused to ask) about the DNR Invasive Species Order declaratory ruling regarding swine. Mark is working on another video that may answer more questions, but here are some answers to Frequently Asked Questions . . . more

Please consider making a contribution to the Baker’s Legal Defense Fund

Testimony before MI Senate Ag Committee


3/29/12 – Testimony before MI Senate Ag Committee
[Video Recording]

Agenda: Presentation by Mark Baker, Bakers Green Acres, Missaukee County concerning the DNR Invasive Species Order and Declaratory Ruling and the impact on his farm operation.

Read Big Pig Lobbyist Uses Cloakroom Tactics to Foil Small Farm Defense

Watch the video now!

Wild Pig Ban Challenged

Audio recording of Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) spot by Peter Payette on 16 February 2012 (less than 4 minutes)

Wildlife officials took aggressive action last year to keep pigs from becoming a permanent feature of Michigan’s landscape. Certain kinds of pigs were declared an invasive species. But farmers and ranchers say the move was too extreme and are now challenging the science of the ban.

Among those protesting is Stuart Kunkle. He has ten pigs at his small farm south of Traverse City. Some are mulefoots and others are mangalitsas. These pigs are hairy and black. Kunkle got into pigs for a few reasons. One is he has a day job and pigs are less work than other animals. And he says the market for pastured pork is growing and chefs have become interested in some of the heritage breeds. . . More

Listen to the audio recording

Invasive Hype?


Podcast of “Points Live” on Interlochen Public Radio (IPR) with Jim Moses on 17 February 2012 (approx. 15 minutes)

Last year the state declared wild pigs an invasive species. Wildlife officials say a wild pig population would be a serious threat to conservation in Michigan. So certain types of pigs will be illegal come April. The ban was mainly aimed at private hunting ranches, but a growing number of hog farmers raise heritage breeds. And they learned recently these might run afoul of the new law. Jim Moses has a farm in Leelanau County. He does not have pigs but is active in the small farm movement. He says the ban is just another attack on small farms and is largely driven by hype.

Listen to the podcast


Data on the Department of Natural Resources website:

    Check out the map for Michigan showing sightings of feral swine in various counties. *

    See the actual numbers (sightings and kills/found dead) since 2001 up to 2012.**

* www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/2012FSMap_010813_409803_7.pdf

** www.michigan.gov/documents/dnr/FS_sightings_kill_4_22_13_only_418830_7.pdf

Legal Defense – Baker Fund

blog post by Jill Baker on 22 February 2012
Mark recently posted a video explaining our pig situation with the DNR and what you can do to help. There is also a blog entry a bit further back explaining things. We do have a Legal Defense Fund set up to help cover the costs associated with this battle for the right to farm as best we can. Checks should be made out to “Mark Baker” and can be sent to:

1579 Brinks Rd. Marion, MI 49665

Make donation online
This fund is not associated with FTCLDF.

Sample Letter

Dear ___________ ,

It has come to my attention that the Michigan DNR has issued an Invasive Species Order on Michigan swine that includes a prohibitively broad definition of what constitutes an invasive swine. Many of the characteristics in the order’s list of phenotype traits also apply to heritage/old world swine breeds that are being raised by hundreds of farmers throughout the state.

It is my concern that these farms could be threatened by the DNR, which does not grant protections to these swine that are being raised responsibly, in contained fences on distinct properties and in legitimate agricultural operations. Here is what Rodney Stokes, director of the Michigan DNR has said about the order:

“Any swine, whether pure or hybrid, exhibiting these characteristics are prohibited. All people in the state of Michigan are subject to this prohibitionregardless of their use of this type of swine. Your constituents that wish to purchase swine can look at the characteristics listed in the Ruling and choose swine that do not exhibit the prohibited characteristics.”

And from the words of one Michigan hog farmer: “Our concern is that this ruling effectively eliminates genetic diversity in the Michigan hog population, leaving us with the less hardy, non-foraging hybrids suited only for large hog-house production.”

Unfortunately, there are thousands of consumers and farmers who specifically would like to choose to raise and consume pork that would be banned by the DNR. It is therefore a violation of our right to raise and eat the breeds of animals that we choose, granted they constitute no grave threat to the health and well being of the current domestic pig population nor to the Michigan ecosystems monitored by the DNR.

We urge you to support repealing the DNR Invasive Species Order. Old world/heritage breed swine must be allowed to be raised by farmers and not be allowed to be confused by the DNR with feral hogs who have bred and roam in wild and unfenced public and private lands.



“Feral” pig in Texas as “herd dog” 

Rep. Booher’s Editorial in
Manistee Advocate

FAQ – Swine ISO [2/27/12]

Legal Defense [2/22/12]

Wild Pig Ban Challenged [2/16/12]


Click here for most recent Food Rights News posts on Michigan Swine ISO

Press Release 4/5/12 - Michigan Agency Creates Hardship for Heritage Pig Farmers, Hunting Preserves say Legal Experts

Michigan DNR Attacks Free-range Family Farms to Protect Pork Industry [4/5/12]

Big Pig Lobbyist Uses Cloakroom Tactics to Foil Small Farm Defense [4/3/12]

Humane Pork Producers are Endangered Species in Michigan [3/30/12]

Michigan CAFOs Conspire with Government to Ban Outdoor Pig Farming [3/28/12]

Insane Michigan government announces plan to destroy ranch livestock based on hair color and arrest hundreds of ranchers as felon [3/27/12]


CFS Notice of Intent to Sue [6/1/2012]

Rep. Booher Asks Gov to Rescind ISO [3/30/12]

MI Legislators’ Letter to Gov [3/30/12]

Baker’s Complaint [2/24/12]

Stokes Letter to MAFA [2/17/12]

Stokes Letter to McBroom [2/8/12]

MAFA Letter to Stokes [2/8/12]

Declaratory Ruling [12/13/11]

Invasive Species Order (ISO) [12/3/10]

Video Links

Watch “Hogwash: The American Pig Tale” by Kyle Miron [posted July 10, 2012]

Watch the Baker video by Kyle Miron that went viral with over 100,000 views.

Mark Baker speaks at the Michigan Capital before the Senate Ag Committee on March 29, 2012

Mark Baker explains the breeding of Mangalitsa pigs in Michigan and the threat of the swine ISO. [posted March 5, 2012]

Click on video image below: Squeaky, the herding pig
“Feral” pig [by DNR's definition] in Texas behaves as a herd dog.

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